HOPE — The U.S. Census Bureau has a challenge for students in the Hope Public Schools.
“The 2020 Census is more than a population count,” the Census Bureau notes online. “It’s an opportunity to shape your community’s future. Through your social media channels, your voice can make a difference. Challenge your friends.”
The USCB has posted numerous challenge ideas and aids online at my2020census.gov which students can access to expand the count effort in Hope and Hempstead County.
“Download one of our challenge images, or create a custom image of your own to share with your friends and followers on social media,” the USCB suggests.
The involvement of HPS students in producing an accurate Census count in Hope and Hempstead County is another way for the larger local community to unite as it has in past critical efforts, HPS Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart said.
“Eight years ago, Hope nearly lost its hospital, but residents were able to come together and, with Census data, successfully advocate for continued access to quality health care,” Dr. Hart said.
That sort of civics application is gathering notice among HPS students, as 14-year old Jessica Moreno observed.
“The Census is important to me because counting everyone will ensure that every state, city, or community will receive help from the government,” Jessica said. “I have reminded and motivated people I know to participate in the 2020 Census.”
Jessica and other students who are actively participating for the first time are steeped in the importance of the effort.
“This is not my first time participating in the Census, but it is the first time I remember it,” Hope Academy of Public Service eighth-grader Dayanahri Cisneros said. “Since the Census is every 10 years, the first time I participated was when I was four. Now that I am older I can better understand the importance of the Census.”
Fourteen-year old Priscila Moreno makes the same point.
“This is not my first time participating in the Census but last time I did I was only four years old,” Priscila said. “So, I didn’t know what exactly was going on. Participating now is really exciting to see what the future brings.”
Dayanaahri points to history to make the point.
“History even shows that Jesus’ parents went back to their birth home to be counted in the (Roman) census,” she said.
Historical research via U.S. Census data is available through the USCB which provides answers to numerous questions.
“This just shows us one of the reasons the Census is important,” Dayanahri said. “The Census also helps put a number on how many people are of a different race or if they speak a different language and other subjects like that. By counting our present, we are preparing ourselves a better future.”
All three girls have been active in creating awareness of the importance of an accurate and complete Census count for Hope and Hempstead County.
“I told my mom and family members to not forget to fill out the Census,” Dayanahri said. “Also, when I received these questions, I sent them to other classmates and told them.”
Priscila noted the COVID-19 closure of public schools in Arkansas has made the effort more difficult; but, not impossible.
“I have made an effort to spread the word about the Census, telling my friends and family; even though it has been hard to spread the word and tell people to take action since we are living in this pandemic. This is why it is important to respond to the Census for times like these.”
The Hope Public Schools is participating in Arkansas Counts through grant funding by Tyson Foods, the Walmart Foundation, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and other non-profit organizations. Frequently asked questions and other information about the Census is available at my2020census.gov online.